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A month later (May 1942) two Lutheran clergymen made direct contact with the British in Stockholm. These were Dr. Hans Schoenfeld, a member of the Foreign Relations Bureau of the German Evangelical Church, and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an eminent divine and an active conspirator, who on hearing that Dr. George Bell, the Anglican Bishop of Chichester, was visiting in Stockholm hastened there to visit him–Bonhoeffer traveling incognito on forged papers provided him by Colonel Oster of the Abwehr.

Both pastors informed the bishop of the plans of the conspirators and…inquired whether the Western Allies would make a decent peace with a non-Nazi government once Hitler had been overthrown. They asked for an answer–either by a private message or by a public announcement. To impress the bishop that the anti-Hitler conspiracy was a serious business, Bonhoeffer furnished him with a list  of the names of the leaders–an indiscretion which later was to cost him and to make certain the execution of many of the others. 

~ William L Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1320-1321.

On Hitler’s express orders reprisal the killing of Germans in Denmark were to be carried out in secret “on the proportion of five to one.” Thus, the great Danish pastor-poet-playwright, Kaj Munk, one of the most beloved men in Scandinavia, was brutally murdered by the Germans, his body left on the road with a sign pinned to it: “Swine, you worked for Germany just the same.”

~ William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1247.


Very few people were bothered by the fact that the Nazification of Church took place…

It would be misleading to give the impression that the persecution of Protestants and Catholics by the Nazi State tore the German people asunder or even greatly aroused the vast majority of them. It did not. A people who had so lightly given up their political and cultural and economic freedoms were not, except for a relatively few, going to die or even risk imprisonment to preserve freedom of worship. What really aroused the Germans in the Thirties were the glittering successes of Hitler in providing jobs, creating prosperity, restoring Germany’s military might, and moving from one triumph to another in his foreign policy (William L ShirerThe Rise and Fall of the Third Reich1960 ed., 331-332).

 

I am currently reading William L Shirer’s classic book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960 ed.). Adolf Hitler and the Nazis put incredible pressure on Protestant pastors to submit to the Nazi ideology…

In the spring of 1938 Bishop Marahrens took the final step of ordering all pastors to in his diocese to swear a personal oath of allegiance to the Fuehrer. In a short time the vast majority of Protestant clergymen took the oath, thus binding themselves legally and morally to obey the commands of the dictator (331).

Of course, there were a few like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who were appalled at those who caved in to Hitler.

I have been a pastor for 30 years! I pray that I will always to be true to Jesus!

Adolf Hitler said once…

“You can do anything you want with them. They will submit…they are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweet with embarrassment when you talk to them”  

(William L ShirerThe Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1960 ed., 329)

I am currently reading William L Shirer’s classic book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960 ed.). Shirer makes it clear that Adolf Hitler wanted the churches in Germany to submit to his authority…

So far as the Protestants were concerned, Hitler was insistent that if the Nazi “German Christians” could not bring the evangelical churches into line under Reich Bishop Mueller then the government itself would have to take over the direction of the churches. He had a certain contempt for the Protestants (328-329).

Photo: Starting to read this worn-out book

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